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Chinese Yuan Dan

http://www.chinese.cn 15:25, December 27, 2010 Confucius Institute Online

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Chinese Yuan Dan refers to the first day of the first month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar. Yuan means "the beginning" while Dan means "day". Yuan Dan combined means "the day at the beginning of the year". Yuan Dan is used differently in different Mandarin-speaking areas: Da Nian Chu Yi, Da Tian Chu Yi, Nian Chu Yi or Zheng Yue Chu Yi. The day was called Yuan Ri in Shu Shundian. Cui Yuan from the Han Dynasty called it Yuan Zheng in San Zi Chai Ming. Yu Chan called it Yuan Chen in Yang Du Fu. It was called Yuan Chun in an article in the North Qi Dynasty. Li Shi, Dezong Emperor in the Tang Dynasty, called it Yuan Shuo in his poems. The date of Yuan Dan varied in different dynasties. In the Xia Dynasty, it was on the 1st of the first lunar month; in the Shang Dynasty, it was on the 1st of the 12th lunar month; in the Zhou Dynasty, it was on the 1st of the 11th lunar month. After Emperor Qin Shi united the six kingdoms, he defined the 1st of the 10th lunar month as Yuan Dan. It has not changed until the first year of Emperor Han Wu's reign. Sima Qian created the Tai Chu Calendar, which defined the 1st of the first Lunar month as Yuan Dan. Since it was used as it was in the Xia Dynasty, the calendar was also called the Xia Calendar and was used until the Xin Hai Revolution of 1911. When the Republic of China was founded, Sun Yat-sen defined the 1st of the 1st Lunar Month as the Spring Festival and the 1st of January as the New Year, under the principle of "using the Xia Calendar as guidance for agriculture; using the western calendar for consistency with the world". In modern times, Yuan Dan refers to the 2nd day of the A. D. calendar.

From the time the western calendar was introduced to China, Yuan Dan was referred to the New Year while the traditional lunar New Year became the Spring Festival. In 1911, Sun Yat-sen led the Xinhai Revolution, which toppled the Manchu Government and established the Republic of China. The governors of Chinese provinces had a meeting in Nanjing and at the meeting decided to apply the western calendar; the 1st of the 1st Lunar Month was called the Spring Festival and the 1st of January was called Yuan Dan, but it was not officially announced. The 1st of January was called the New Year rather than Yuan Dan. On September 27th, 1949, before the People's Republic of China was founded, a resolution was announced at the People's Political Consultative Conference of China: "The People's Republic of China will adopt the A. D. calendar", which is the solar calendar we use today. In order to distinguish the two New Years of both the lunar calendar and the solar calendar, and as the "spring beginning" of the Lunar Calendar was always around the lunar New Year, the 1st of the 1st lunar month was called the Spring Festival and the 1st of January Yuan Dan. It was not until then that Yuan Dan became a festival celebrated by the whole country.

 

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